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Thread: The Bund 《上海灘》

  1. #21
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Originally posted by SkineePanda
    Anyone remembers the character played by Kent Tong. He was Ching-Ching's admirerer, son of a wealthy businessman, university student, Whampao academy reject, then a corrupt but patriotic detective. I feel more sympathy for him since Ching-Ching thinks nothing of him, in fact I don't think she paid any attention to him, even when he died. He sure meant well though. He wanted to be a soldier and fight for his country against foreign enemies but was rejected by the academy. Then he seriously wanted to be a good, clean cop but Hui Man-keung gave him a talk about surviving by being as corrupt as you can be. But he lattered worked on a newspaper that pissed off the Japanese or Fung. Then he got killed abruptly. Poor bastard.

    I don't know the minor characters usually made a heavier impact on me. Like Ding Lik's first flame, the courtesan.
    Chan Hon Lam, the character played by Kent Tong, was one of Tong's first major roles for TVB (i.e. more than being an extra or minor supporting character). I felt sorry for the character too...he was another example of what happened to honest people in corrupt Shanghai.

    What was amazing about his character is how, after he lost Fung Ching Ching to Hui Mun Keung, he got over his initial jealousy and eventually became Hui Mun Keung's good friend. Chan Hon Lam helped Hui Mun Keung many times, and you might even say Chan Hon Lam died to help Hui Mun Keung in his quest to topple Fung Ging Yiu from power.

    Ding Lik's courtesan left Shanghai and was never heard from again.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Lady Zhuge's Avatar
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    I recently watched this series and saw exactly why it's been deemed as a classic must-see. The acting and story-line are good and the music is very memorable. I was really happy to see Liu Dan as Feng Gen Yao.

    When Cheng Cheng asked for her "gift" back (the book with the photo of her and Xu Wen Qiang), was she hinting that there was still a chance for the two of them to be together in France?

    Has anyone seen the sequels? Are they any good?
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  3. #23
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Lady Zhuge
    Has anyone seen the sequels? Are they any good?
    They are good as long as you don't expect them to match or top the original.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Omniflame's Avatar
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    Are the official TVB VCDs of "Shang Hai Tan" heavily cut?

  5. #25
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Omniflame
    Are the official TVB VCDs of "Shang Hai Tan" heavily cut?
    Unfortunately, yes...and for a great, great TVB classic in which every scene counted, that's a crime.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Omniflame's Avatar
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    Ken,

    What do you think about the remakes of it? (ie. the movie with Leslie Cheung, the Adam Cheng series, etc)

  7. #27
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omniflame
    Ken,

    What do you think about the remakes of it? (ie. the movie with Leslie Cheung, the Adam Cheng series, etc)
    Not very highly. The remakes neither captured the spirit of the original nor established a compelling original identity of their own. THE BUND captured a moment of perfection that TVB (and indeed, Hong Kong entertainment in general) has never come close to recapturing. It was lightning in a bottle for a short period of time in 1980.

  8. #28
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    The TVB series one with Adam Cheng, has the main story of the old series, drifted more into a substory, and adding too many other suplots made the chracters seem to change. It takes pretty much of the effects away.

    Like Fung Ging Yiu, in the 90's one, they made him much worse and super-possessive, but he rarely cared for his daughter, and more for his mistress. He ws a straight out evil chracter.

    In the old one, I actually felt a little for Fung Ging Yiu. He was very powerful and manipulative in front of other people, but in front of his daughter, he could almost never hold strong and always gave into her because of his love for her. You can see the disappointment he has when his daughter starts to distance from him (you can tell by the tone of voice) after he has sent the warrant to kill Hui Man Keung, and the struggles he has in wanting to kill Ding Lik, and not wanting his daughter to become a widow. You can see the fear he has when he begins to lose power, but yet he tries to be strong.

    The old script just shows mroe depth in even the sub-characters, and nto to mention that the older version's actors were better/more suitable than the new ones. (Lau Dan is 100 times better than Poon Chi Man!!! )

    In the film version, ist tried to get mreo development into the chracters, but Fung Ching Ching's character ws realy really boring and cardboard flat, but the two male leads, even though their plots had changed, were really developed (fro a movie version).

    The Hui Man Keung by Leslie, was just not the Hui Man Keung by Chow Yun Fat. Leslie's version was a straight out patriot, putting his country before everything. He got into the triad business only because Ding Lik wanted to, and he has to stay in Shanghai to find the traitor. You see the struggles between friendship and love, and, country and love. His version was more noble (as he cares nothing for money) than the series version, but both are great.

    But Chow Yun Fat's version had ambition from the first minute we set eyes on him, we a change from the flashback innocent jailed protesting patriot student he was, losing his first love for his country. He tries to drown his love for his country, as he knows it would get him nowhere in Shanghai society, but after many struggles between his conscience, ambition, love and freindship, he chose his country.

    I think that it was a mistake for the film in making Ding Lik more stronger than he was in the series when he first started out. Andy's Ding Lik showed leadership, ambition, tolerance and patience. You just know that he would make it great some day. (the moustache's ugly though )

    But with Ray's version, he's got a hot temper, he's impatient, childish, and pretty dependent on Hui Man Keung. That's why are more shocked when he actually makes it big in Shangahi, changing his character. We know that meeting Hui Man Keung has changed him dramatically (emotional + values), Ding Lik needed Hui Man Keung to mature, but we don't get such a strong feeling in the film.

    The 80's version is just irreplaceable, it so striaght-forward and sends a strong message to the audience that we cannot help but see everything form the character's perspectives.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
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  9. #29
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    First of all , I have to say what a truly unforgettably series this was . One of the best I have ever seen in any Language.

    I thought I had seen Bund I , back in the 80’s , but when they played it recently again on TVB , I realised it was II that I saw . So I was really blown away at how great Bund I was , and I really wasn’t expecting that.

    It’s message is relevant and poignant even in the 21st century ,and I have no doubt it will continue to do so for a long time yet.

    As Ken pointed out, the story goes far beyond it’s gangster themes , it’s messages exist on multivariate levels , and is subtle but powerful at the same time – the mark of true great art .

    It’s greatness lies in that it has so many big themes rolled into one, all skillfully intertwined by the script writers. It challenges you to view it as deep as you can , only then can you appreciate it’s many meanings.

    Superficially it is a gangster movie , but really it transcends far beyond that , to an almost spiritual level.

    It is a tale of good versus evil, of power , of self worth , of greed , of envy , of responsibility , of community , naivete , destiny and that other great theme – True Pure Love .

    The other thing that struck me was how accurate the characters are, as cameos of real Chinese people . I have since observed people around me carefully and I see Fung Keng Yius , Man Keongs etc all around. Uncanny but true !

    Like all great stories the strength lies in the script and in the Bund it’s great characterization.

    To me the one that ended up the worst was Ding Lik . In the end , despite all his power , wealth , strength , he was all alone , fearful and unloved , like an untouchable man in a glass tower .

    He could not get any of the women he truly wanted , his only woman was a slag . His son died as a result of his criminal lifestyle .

    In the end , he couldn’t even get a date with his secretary ! she preferred a student to the almighty Ding Lik , how far he fell . He ended up a shell of a man , with no woman , no family , no love, little respect . very sad. ( see Bund II and III )

    I would not have that sort of life for anything , not worth it.


    Contrast this to Man Keong , a lot of people say he had a raw deal in life . but did he ? to me , he wasn’t as badly off as some of the other characters .

    He died young , yes , but his life was worth something because at the end of the day , he stood up for what he believed in , and what he believed was basically good. And he managed to overcome the evil he faced.

    As someone once said “ everyman dies , it’s how you live that counts “ . To me he lived like a hero and to me that counts.

    One of the other main Characters was Ching Ching . what of her ? well I feel she was basically a good person who was extremely unlucky in life .

    The people around her either had no real love for her and wanted just to use her : her father, or they were insecure ego maniacs who only wanted to dominate her ( Ding ).

    Her real love ( MK ) alas was fated not to be.

    MK realised this right from the start . His gut feeling told him the chances of a happy relationship were her were low . Her father would always be a hindrance to them.
    In the beginning he tried to follow his own advice and was reticent towards her , the foolish Ding thinking that he was deliberately unkind to her.

    In the end , he just couldn’t help but fall for her , their love was just too strong .

    And yet if things had gone just a little different then they may have had a chance.
    Lady luck was not on their side.

    If she was arrived just a few minutes earlier at the secret meeting with MK , they might have eloped successfully . Instead she arrived when enemy forces were there , and MK could not exit the car.

    The other chance they had was when he left for HK . Here I thought he could have done more to contact her , but again deep inside he had this feeling that their love was doomed.

    Of course after that , things quickly crashed , MK’s new family was murdered by Fung , and he rightfully sought revenge. When he returned , Ching Ching asked him to elope , but really how could he ?

    Fung murdered his whole family in cold blood , if he didn’t take revenge , he would not have been able to live with his conscience. The die was cast , from this point on their love was truly lost.
    Even after he killed Fung , Ching Ching still loved him . but of course she could not live with him . how do you live with a guy who killed your own father ??

    It was now her turn to be left with an impossible situation.

    So at every turn , their love was thwarted , as strong as it was , it wasn’t meant to be.
    But still , the story is ironic because if Ching Ching had better people around her , things would have been ok . It was her bad luck that her own father’s love was a sham and that he used her like a pawn.

    So I wouldn’t say she was completely nave , her father deceived her terribly , she did react against him , just that it was too late.

    Things in life are like this. Becareful who you trust , even your closest family can betray you !!

    I’ve personally seen this sort of situation many a time , albeit not as drastic.

    In the end , I personally don’t think she ended up the worst . yes , she lost the love of her life but she managed to see through her father and completely cut his memory off , she didn’t even want any bit of his estate. Yes she was a nun now , but she could leave at anytime , she had a new life if she wanted it.

    Things could have been even worse than that !

    A truly great series, I wouldn’t mind watching it a few times more , like 4 or 5 !

    BTW , does anyone know who wrote the original story ? or did it all come internally from TVB ?

  10. #30
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rokko99
    BTW , does anyone know who wrote the original story ? or did it all come internally from TVB ?
    It was all written internally at TVB (as I said, they were in a never-to-be-repeated super-creative phase), but the series was heavily influenced by the great American films of the 1970s. THE GODFATHER, in particular, was a great inspiration for THE BUND (although THE BUND certainly did not plagiarize THE GODFATHER's plot).

  11. #31
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    yes , sadly we have never seen anything like it from TVB again.

    it had a lasting effect on me , the story still resonates within me.

  12. #32
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    apparently, i was checking out asiandvdguide.com the other day and heard that the original uncut 25 episode version is released on DVD exclusively in Japan. it's a region 2 disc and knowing that it's a japanese release, you know it's going to be mighty expensive.

    http://www.amazon.co.jp/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002YD6AA

    i've watched it when Fairchild TV played all 3 seasons back-to-back. all i have to say about "The Bund I" is: greatest drive-by shooting ever.

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    Well here in Malaysia , I believe it will be repeated constantly throughout the years . If it is the same where you are , just tape it then .

    I really don't why it's censored , whatever violence there is , is mild by today's standard.

  14. #34
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rokko99
    Well here in Malaysia , I believe it will be repeated constantly throughout the years . If it is the same where you are , just tape it then .

    I really don't why it's censored , whatever violence there is , is mild by today's standard.
    The TVB VCDs certainly weren't cut over censorship issues. As usual, it's TVB being *cheap*. They figure they could save some money pressing fewer VCD discs by trimming what they deem to be "unessential" scenes from the series. When I bought my set, the clerk at the store said that TVB did this to eliminate "boring" scenes and keep the pace going. I resisted the urge to laugh in her face. How stupid does TVB think its fans are? *We* can decide for ourselves what's "boring" or not. By giving us a chopped up THE BUND on VCD, TVB wasn't doing us any favors by cutting out "boring" parts; it was butchering its own greatest production ever and shortchanging us fans.

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    Default TVB = DUMB

    >>When I bought my set, the clerk at the store said that TVB did this to >>eliminate "boring" scenes and keep the pace going.



    Ken,


    I find this incredible and incredibly stupid on their part . To think they wrote this magnificent script and then themselves destroyed it . Mind boggling .

    How foolish they are . It's precisely those " boring " scenes that are supreme in their artistic genius . One look can convey more than a 100 words , that is how Chinese communicate sometimes .

    Sad.
    Last edited by rokko99; 09-30-04 at 06:21 AM.

  16. #36
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rokko99
    >>When I bought my set, the clerk at the store said that TVB did this to >>eliminate "boring" scenes and keep the pace going.



    Ken,


    I find this incredible and incredibly stupid on their part . To think they wrote this magnificent script and then themselves destroyed it . Mind boggling .

    How foolish they are . It's precisely those " boring " scenes that are supreme in their artistic genius . One look can convey more than a 100 words , that is how Chinese sometimes .

    Sad.
    Isn't that the truth? However many units of their VCD condensations of their classic 1970s and 1980s series that TVB has sold, I bet they could have sold *many* more units if they'd offered fans the original, unaltered, complete series exactly as they were broadcast on television years ago. Folks who complain that George Lucas butchered the original STAR WARS TRILOGY on the DVD set haven't seen anything yet.

  17. #37
    Senior Member James Ko's Avatar
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    Not sure if anyone brought it up how does this compare to the the remake with more charactors and different name

    From the Bund to Once upon a time in China?
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  18. #38
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Ko
    Not sure if anyone brought it up how does this compare to the the remake with more charactors and different name

    From the Bund to Once upon a time in China?
    You'll find the remarks a page or two back on this same thread, James.

  19. #39
    Senior Member Omniflame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Ko
    Not sure if anyone brought it up how does this compare to the the remake with more charactors and different name

    From the Bund to Once upon a time in China?
    Heheh, I think you mean "Once Upon a Time in Shanghai".

    "Once Upon a Time in China" was a series of Wong Fei Hung movies starring Jet Li.

  20. #40
    Senior Member James Ko's Avatar
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    Thx guys

    Speaking of Bund III, I try looking for this because I was a big fan of Au Yeung Pan (the girl who plays Wong Yung in the Return of Condors hero). but it seems this part is always hard to find.
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